EAA Airventure at Osh Kosh always draws great innovators every year, leading the aviation consumer to discover something new and different. Flying cars have always been a dream for the everyday pilot. Why not fly to work? Why not park the plane in the parking lot? Why not drive from the runway onto the freeway? All excellent questions!
Well, Samson Motorworks is trying to make those dreams a reality. Samson’s Switchblade flying car is in the (hopefully) finally stages of development this summer. The company expects to be able to conduct test flights early next year, then begin selling the experimental kit.
The Samson Switchblade will be in the Experimental category, but Samson has a builder assist program that only adds $20,000 to the final cost of the kit. The total price of the kit, which comes 49% completed and only takes 3 weeks to complete with the builder assist program, comes in at $140,000. That includes the engine, avionics (it’s equipped with Dynon’s 7″ Skyview glass panel display, a Dynon radio and transponder, a Dynon intercom, a Dynon AOA, an iPad mini, and an ADS-B GPS), and the builder assist program. Similar to a Cirrus, it is also equipped with a Ballistic Parachute Recovery system.
The Samson Switchblade has several different engine options, including a supercharged, liquid cooled, V-4 similar to a Corvette engine that will produce 190 HP. Max cruise in the air should be around 170 knots. The Switchblade will hold 30 gallons of mogas, burn 9 GPH in the air, and get 35 mpg on the ground. The gross weight will be 1,750 pounds.
How does the car to plane transition happen? Samson has developed a fly by wire system to retract the rudder down while the car is in drive mode. The wings use a mechanical linkage to fold up into the belly.
There are several different packages for the Samson Switchblade: the Snowbird, the Aurora, and the Trek options. Details can be found on Samson’s website.
I, for one, will be keeping an eye on the freeways next summer to keep an eye out for cars sprouting wings. No more traffic jams!